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Get the Most from Your Internship by Creating Internship Goals

Internships can be life-changing, especially when internship goals are set right.

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Internships can be life-changing, especially when internship goals are set right.

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Internships are mainly aimed at exposing professionals to the working environment or a specific field that one is studying in. This means that internships are not only limited to students or graduates at the college level, but also to Ph.D. and Masters' students. However, as a young graduate or university student, you might want to give these internships all you can.

The first step to getting the best from your internship is setting goals. As the saying goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Just because you are interning for 3-6 months and sometimes without pay, it does not mean you cannot set targets or goals for that short time. Forget the downside; with good performance,  most interns swear that they got rewarded after their internships. But as I said, to get the best out of your internship start by setting some goals. 

 

Gaining experience

This should be the first goal for every intern. An internship gives you the opportunity to practice what you've learned at school. Therefore, put your focus on gaining as much experience as possible.

Gaining the experience might not be easy at first. In some workplaces, employees might be a little hesitant in giving you work to do. This will call for pro-activeness. Show the team you are eager and willing to learn and ready to work. To some interns, this might come easy as you will have job descriptions. But don't be too comfortable while everyone else gets work done, if you notice a busy colleague, ask them if you can be of any help. 

 

Learning something new

As you work on gaining experience, you will be given tasks to do which might push you out of your comfort zone. These may require you to do things you are not familiar with. The goal here is to learn. Do not brush off a task because you have no idea how exactly you will do it. Instead inform your supervisor that even though you’re not sure how to get it done, you are willing to learn. 

The more new things you learn, the more assignments you will be able to do. When your internship supervisor notices that you are occupied and helping out more in the department, they will see your worth.

 

Show off your skills or expertise

No one will tell you to be silent and timid because you are an intern. Walk confidently with your head high and let your presence be felt. Of course for positive reasons! Your internship is your marketing place as well, do not lie to yourself that everyone you see working knows everything. Are you good at using excel? Use an assignment to show off your skills? Have you been assigned to handle files? What is the best to keep these files monitored? 

During my internship, I became well-known for capturing data very fast. Working in the human resources department involved capturing a lot of data for recruitment. One of my assignments, therefore, was to capture that data in a timely manner and submit it to respective departments. However, I did this so well that even after graduation I was called back to help with a data clean-up project.  

Showing off your skills during your internship should never miss out on your goals list. It can even be outside work, through a hobby, or an activity that you do very well. 

 

Networking

You should aim to create lasting connections during your internship. People we meet during internships can turn into mentors and friends. It is obvious that they can help you get work after graduation, but it should never be the main reason to connect with them, or you might be disappointed. 

If you are sure that you have been placed in the organization where you see yourself pursuing a career, then the people working there are in a better place to guide you in your journey. They will advise you on which professional courses to take, how to apply for jobs, and also position yourself in the job market. To a larger extent, you might get someone who will guide you through your early adulthood life. 

 

Improving your interpersonal skills

There is no better place to improve one’s soft skills than during an internship. Being a young person will most times attract other employees to you. This will teach you how to hold conversations both formally and informally, communicate your needs, and relate with your team, to mention a few. 

Look out for how different individuals communicate with each other, how clients are handled, how visitors are entertained, and especially phone etiquette. Truth be told, these are skills you will not learn in school. Therefore use your internship period to master all the skills you can put your hands on. 

 

Reviewing your individual goals and visions

During your internship, you are given the chance to see the reality of life. You get to experience the real working environment. This is the time when you will question whether the career you want to pursue is your number one option or you need to look at other options as well. Seeing different individuals may also shift your perspective on life. Be open to asking some of your work colleagues how they made it to where they are and seek inspiration in the right direction.

“My internship gave me a fresh perspective on women in the working field. We had more female managers and what intrigued us most was the young ones. This made me determined and from there on I shifted my mind to where I wanted to be in the future. I realized that I could be anything as long as I put my mind to it.” says Faith, an Intern at Housing Finance Bank. 

If you aim to achieve your set internship goals you will get the best out of your internship. Do not forget to evaluate your performance against all these goals and then set a way forward. There is nothing easy to achieve but if you are determined then you will be unstoppable.

Written by

Mercy Mukisa

<p>I find my love for writing from my wild imaginations. I am currently pursuing a career in Business Management. I believe we can all be who we want to be.</p>


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